The History of Aspen, Colorado

A few days ago, I celebrated my seven-year anniversary as an Australia resident. The move from England was quite monumental, and the outcome could have been completely different. As a family, we have embraced the move and never regretted this life-changing decision. However, we do miss elements of the UK – in particular, being in proximity to Europe.

Countries like Spain, Italy, and Greece are steeped in history and offer some truly amazing architecture. This type of history and culture makes them very interesting places to visit on a regular basis. However, another location that has a very intriguing history is Aspen, Colorado.

Normally, people visiting Aspen are focused on skiing activities and the extravagant nightlife. As I have mentioned in previous articles, this beautiful city has a wealth of different activities throughout all of its seasons. It also has a very exciting history that dates far back to the 1880s, and in particular, the Colorado Silver Boom. Certainly, the origins of Aspen really illustrate why this resort is so popular with tourists today.

The History of Aspen

Aspen was originally a mining camp during the Colorado Silver Boom, and received its name due to the abundance of Aspen trees in the region. At this point in time, the city had the most profitable silver mine in the United States. Impressively, It also had banks, a hospital, a police department, two theatres, and an opera house – all of which were illuminated by electric lights.

After 1893, when the silver market collapsed, the population vastly decreased, and Aspen experienced quiet times. However, Aspen’s fortunes were revived when industrialist, Walter Paepcke bought several properties and developed Aspen Mountain as a ski resort.

Since the early 1950’s, Aspen has thrived beyond anyone’s expectations. The city rapidly gained recognition when it first hosted the prestigious FIS World Championships in 1950. Subsequently, the region became renowned as a high-end ski resort for celebrities and exponentially expanded thereafter.

In 1958, Buttermilk and Aspen Highlands opened with a third resort called Snowmass, which was developed in 1967. During the 1970’s legendary singer/writer Denver settled in Aspen and commemorated it by penning two songs. After his premature death in 1997, the city paid tribute to his talent by opening the John Denver Sanctuary in his name.